Why buy a Sta-Rite Pool Heater? Well, the short answer is because it’s heats water fast and it’s engineered for optimal efficiency. If you want the long answer then keep reading.
William Heath created the Sta-Rite brand (owned by Pentair) 75 years ago determined to build pumps that were “built right to stay right ” — and thus the name “Sta-Rite.” When you purchase a Sta-Rite pool heater you should feel good because it will be money well spent, and in return you’ll receive one of the best pool heaters money can buy.
Three Models | Sta-Rite Pool Heater
Basically, there are 3 models but they are the same other than their BTU output. Keep that in mind. The information in this article applies to all of the Max-E-Therm propane heaters.
- Sta-Rite Pool Heater : SR200LP | 200,000 BTU | Heats up to 400 sq.ft.
- Sta-Rite Pool Heater : SR333LP | 333,000 BTU | Heats up to 700 sq.ft.
- Sta-Rite Pool Heater : SR400LP | 400,000 BTU | Heats up to 1200 sq.ft.
There are several Sta-Rite pool heater models to choose from. The most popular selection in the Sta-Rite pool heater models is the Max-E-Therm heater. The Max-E-Therm heater is lightweight, compact, rustproof, and eco-friendly. Let’s take a closer look at why so many pool owners choose the Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite pool heater over the competition.
Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm Pool Heater Features
One of the most important factors when choosing a pool heater is durability. Pool heaters consistently circulate thousands of gallons of water. Heaters made of inferior materials wear easily and require expensive and frequent maintenance. Not to mention the cost of replacement parts.
- Lightweight – Lightest heater in its class.
- Top of the class when it comes to energy efficiency.
- Compact Design – Ideal for retro-fit installations
- Easy to Switch – Change gas sources with installation of separate orifice.
- Environmentally Friendly : All models are low NOx.
- Rustproof Housing – Sleek, matte black enclosure is made of Dura-Glas – an patented Sta-Rite material that takes care of the heat and protect against the elements.
- Reduced Operating Costs: 84% efficiency rating. Rated first in its class for energy efficiency
- Custom or Retrofit – Direct-connects to Sta-Rite System: 3 Mod Media filter or easily fits other systems
A Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite pool heater is made of a sleek rustproof housing while interior components are protected by Dura-Glas. Dura-Glas is a material exclusive to the Sta-Rite brand that is designed to handle pressure and heat.
In addition to being durable, the Max-E-Therm pool heater is the lightest heater among all pool heaters in its class. Its light weight makes for easier install while its compact size provides a variety of install configurations.
The Max-E-Therm heater also boasts an 84% efficiency rating. Its eco-friendly exhaust goes above industry standard and is certified for low NOx emissions. This has won the Max-E-Therm heater the rating of first in class for energy efficiency.
While many pool heaters require an outdoor draft hood, the Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite pool heater uses PMG burner technology which requires no hood. Running off of propane fuel, the Max-E-Therm is not only eco-friendly but highly cost efficient.
The Max-E-Therm heater is designed for residential pools with heavy use in mind. Its cupro-nickel exchanger can handle high flow, harsh application, and low pH.
Documents for the Sta-Rite Heaters:
- View or download the MANUAL.
- View or download the BROCHURE.
- Instructions for the heater connector tube.
Pool Heater vs Heat Pump
Ease of Use
William Heath was committed to creating innovative and durable pumps as he knew customer satisfaction drives an industry. The Sta-Rite brand continues to honor this legacy creating pool heaters that include the latest user friendly technology.
The Max-E-Therm heater has a six position control panel and an easy to read LED temperature readout. There are two thermostat controls and a built-in temperature safety lockout feature.
The Max-E-Therm heater control panel is mounted on the top of the unit for easy access. The control panel has a large digital display making it easy to monitor heater and system conditions. In the event of any malfunctions, the display makes it easier to pinpoint the problem.
Video | How to Clean the Filter
How does the Max-E-Therm Pool Heater Work?
The Max-E-Therm pool heater has three intake points for propane gas, air, and water. Air is drawn in through a blower that sits above the heating unit. The blower mixes the air and gas and forces the mixture into the Max-E-Therm burner flame holder.
Simultaneously, cold pool water is pumped from the pool and into a heating coil. The heating coil heats the water and then pumps the heated water back to the pool.
What are the Max-E-Therm Pool Heater Settings?
The Max-E-Therm pool heater has two heating settings. You can set it to heat to a specific temperature at which point it will shut off when it has reached the required temperature. There is also a comfort setting which will maintain the temperature you specify. Once a desired temperature is reached, the comfort setting will kick on the heater on average twice per hour to maintain the desired temperature.
What Temperature does the Max-E-Therm Heat to?
The Max-E-Therm pool heater is capable of heating water between 65 and 104 degrees. The pump circulates 120 gallons per minute enabling the Max-E-Therm to increase pool temperature between 2 and 4 degrees per hour depending on pool size.
To help maintain optimal temperature, be sure to use a pool cover when the pool is not in use. This will also help save money on propane costs and reduce the use of the pool heater.
Safety Issues and Dangers Related to Using a Propane Heater
Propane pool heaters are quite safe as long as they are installed properly and regularly maintained. The majority of safety issues involve storing combustible material near the pool heater, not allowing for proper ventilation (covering up the ventilation port), and installing the pump too close to the pool or spa without a proper barrier.
To avoid potential safety issues, never place any foreign objects, cloth material, or flammable gas near a pool pump. Never cover any ventilation ports as this can cause the unit to overheat. Finally, follow manufacturer installation requirements. Do not install the heater within six feet of a pool or spa unless you have a wall or solid barrier between the heater and body of water.
Video | Pool Heater Tips
Is the Max-E-Therm Heater the Right Size Heater for my Pool?
The Max-E-Therm heater offers three different BTU outputs suitable for almost all residential pools. The most inexpensive model, the Sta-Rite SR200LP offers a 200,000 BTU output. The Sta-Rite SR200LP is suitable for pools that are up to 400 sq. ft. or retain roughly 14,000 gallons.
The mid-range model is the Sta-Rite SR333LP. The Sta-Rite SR333LP offers a 333,000 BTU output which is suitable for pools that are up to 700 sq. ft. or retain roughly 25,000 gallons.
The largest of the Max-E-Therm heaters is the Sta-Rite SR400LP. The Sta-Rite SR400LP is suitable for pools that are up to 1,200 sq. ft. or retain roughly 80,000 gallons of water.
All of the above mentioned features are available on each of these Max-E-Therm pool heaters. The only difference between each model is the BTU output capability which is reflected in the size of the motor.
If you know the size of your pool then you can easily choose the heater that’s right for you. If you are unsure of the size of your pool you can easily find that out with a few mathematical calculations.
Informative Video on Pool Heaters
How to Determine the Size of Your Pool
Knowing the exact size of your pool will allow you to make the best choice for getting the appropriate Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite pool heater. If the size of your pool happens to be in between the BTU needed, I recommend you go with the heater with more BTU output. It’s better to have more BTU output available as this will help heat the pool faster and require less use of the heater per hour.
Use the Pentair pool size calculator.
If you have a square or rectangular pool you will need to multiply the length (this is in feet) of your pool x the width x the average depth x 7.5. The 7.5 will help in determining the volume of water your pool holds in gallons. There are roughly 7.5 gallons of water per cubic feet.
For example, if your pool is 40 feet long by 20 feet wide and has an average depth of 5 feet, then your pool is 800 sq. feet and holds 30,000 gallons. This is calculated by multiplying 40 (length) x 20 (width) which gives you a surface area of 800 sq. feet. We then find the volume by multiplying 800 x 5 (average depth) x 7.5 (gallons of water by cubic feet).
To find the average depth of your pool, simply adding the depth of the most shallow point and deepest point and divide by two.
If you have a round pool the calculation is a bit different. You will need to multiply half of the pool width x half the pool width x 3.14 x 7.5. Multiplying half the pool width x half the pool width x 3.14 will provide you with the surface area. Then you will multiply the surface area by the average depth and then x 7.5. This will give you the volume of water your pool holds.
If your pool is in an irregular shape, you may be able to break it down into different shapes and calculate the rough area. However, I recommend you contact the pool builder to get the most accurate size.
Now that you have a good idea of which Sta-Rite pool heater is right for you, let’s move on to some frequently asked questions.
Installing a Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite Pool Heater
Before we get into installation, I should mention the Max-E-Therm heater is appropriate for indoor, outdoor, above ground, and in ground pools. It can also be used as a spa heater or in combination for heating a pool and a spa.
Installing a pool heater is not for the faint of heart. For those who are comfortable working with existing electric components and plumbing, installing a Max-E-Therm heater might be a weekend chore. However, even if you are capable of installing it yourself I recommend you hire a professional.
Hiring a professional installer might seem like an expensive option (they generally charge $500) but it will provide you with a sense of security. If you install it yourself you run the risk of not installing it correctly or even damaging the unit or existing components.
Also, in order to retain the manufacturer warranty, professional installation is required. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional. It will save you the hassle and you know it will be properly installed.
USA Venting Guidelines:
- Must be at least 3 ft. above any forced air inlet located within a 10 ft. radius.
- Must be located 6″ away from the building wall and the following distances away from any building wall openings, included but not limited to vented eaves, doors, windows, gravity air inlet:
- 4 ft. below
- 4 ft. horizontally
How noisy is the Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite Pool Heater?
With most pool heaters there is an initial sound when the heater kicks on followed by a constant dull sound while operating. This is not the case with the Max-E-Therm.
The Max-E-Therm’s rugged exterior casing and thick Dura-Glas material nearly mute startup and operational sounds. This is a key feature mentioned in numerous customer reviews. The only time you will notice notable noise is while reconditioning the heater following winterization.
What does it Cost to Keep a Pool Heated?
Beyond the initial cost of purchasing a pool heater, you can expect to pay for propane use. The cost of propane will vary greatly depending on temperature settings and how often you use the heater.
The optimal temperature setting for a pool is 78 degrees. For a spa, it is 100 degrees. Maintaining these temperature setting will keep the water a comfortable temperature but will also allow for the most economical setting and reduced propane usage.
As far as replacement parts, most pool heaters last around 10 years. To reduce wear and tear be sure to clean the heater often, check for any cracks on incoming and outgoing plumbing, and maintain and winterize the heater as recommended in the user manual.
How much does it Cost to Operate the Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite Pool Heater?
As mentioned above, the Max-E-Therm is rated first in class in regard to efficiency. Running off of propane, the Max-E-Therm quickly heats water. It then turns on as needed to maintain optimal temperature.
The higher the BTU the faster the water will be heated. This is why getting the appropriate BTU output is important. You want to ensure you are able to heat the most amount of water in the least amount of time. Whichever model you choose, you can be sure you are getting the most efficient pool heater and it will definitely save you money over other pool heaters.
What Type of Maintenance is required for Max-E-Therm Pool Heaters?
Having a pool shouldn’t require you to become a certified technician. However, if you want to protect your investment there are maintenance requirements that come with owning a pool. The same is true for your pool heater.
Fortunately, the Max-E-Therm pool heater requires very little maintenance. The most important aspect of maintaining your pool heater is to follow all manufacturer recommendations in regards to care and maintenance.
The manufacturer of the Max-E-Therm Sta-Rite pool heater recommends routine maintenance every six months. You should also perform recommended maintenance at the start of the swimming season.
As part of the routine maintenance, be sure to check for obstructions or potential flammable material. The jacket and venting system should be free of any debris allowing for optimal ventilation and flow.
Be sure to keep the heater and the area surrounding the heater clean. Use a dry cloth to wipe the exterior casing keeping it free of dust.
At the beginning of a swim season be sure to test the pressure relief valve. You can do this by simply lifting the valve lever. Test the pressure switch as well. You can find proper instructions on how to do this in the operations manual that comes with the heater.
Inspect all components connected to the Max-E-Therm heater. Be sure there are no cracks in any outgoing pipes. Check to make sure connections are tight. Do not attempt to maintain the burner as it does not require maintenance or adjustment. Also, the combustion air blower does not require lubrication as it is permanently lubricated.
These are fairly easy and basic maintenance requirements to help you prolong the life and get the best performance from your pool heater. If you live in a relatively cold climate you will also need to winterize your heater.
Winterizing the Max-E-Therm pool heater is fairly easy. You’ll first want to make sure the electric supply is shut off. Then you need to close the gas control and manual gas valves. Open the drain cock and drain the heat exchanger and manifold adapter. You may need to blow air through the pressure switch fitting to completely drain the heat exchanger.
Once the weather has warmed and you are ready to use the Max-E-Therm heater, close the drain cock and fittings. Be sure to circulate water through the heater prior to starting it back up. You will notice some “air noises”. Once the air noises stop you can then turn on the heater.
Winterizing is an important part of required maintenance as any water left in the heater can freeze in extreme temperatures. This can cause cracking or other internal damage. Take care of your investment by performing all recommended maintenance including winterizing.
Do I Really Need a Pool Heater?
Having a pool heater isn’t required but it’s definitely recommended. A pool heater has so many benefits and can allow you to enjoy your pool year round.
Whether you use your pool for exercise, fun, or a little bit of both, a pool heater will make swimming more enjoyable. You won’t have to worry about the water being too cold to swim. You can invite friends over any time of year for a pool party. If you do swim as a means of exercise, you won’t have to break up your routine because your pool is too cold.
There’s really no downside to getting a pool heater. A pool is more than a luxury, it’s an investment. Get the most out of your investment and enjoy swimming when you want in the temperature of water you want.
Pentair & Sta-Rite | The Perfect Union
In 2004 Pentair purchased the Sta-Rite brand when it acquired WICOR Industries. The Pentair brand is synonymous with quality, and they are experts when it comes to all things related to water. Its pool division has consistently innovated throughout its history. They manufacture a variety of pool related equipment, such as: High-performance pool pumps, filters, heaters, cleaners, lights, automation systems and more. Each product is expertly engineered and crafted with pool and spa owners in mind.
Read more about Pentair’s history on their site.
You’ve discovered the best size pool heater to get depending on the size of your pool. You’ve also learned how to find the size of your pool and the amount of water your pool contains. While you may or may not decide to get a pool heater, you now have the information you need to make an informed decision.
If you do choose to purchase a pool heater, consider a Sta-Rite pool heater. When you purchase a Sta-Rite you’re purchasing more than a heater, you’re purchasing quality, peace of mind, and a heater that will last. Don’t settle for poor quality heaters that will break down resulting in costly repairs. For a heater that was “built right to stay right”, get a Sta-Rite.
Learn more or buy from Amazon.
The US Government has some good advice on their Energy.gov site. In the long run you save a lot of money when buying the Sta-Rite pool heater due to the fact that it’s engineered to use far less energy than a typical pool heater.
If you have questions, call Pentair
If you need more information on the Sta-Rite pool heaters, especially questions or concerns regarding installation then I suggest you call Pentair directly. Don’t make assumptions, just call and find out the facts. Even if you haven’t purchased this pool heater yet, you can ask them questions to help you make your buying decision.
- Pentair Aquatic Systems : (800) 831-7133
Important Tips | Sta-Rite Pool Heater
This product must be installed and serviced by authorized personnel.installation. Improper installation and/or operation can create carbon monoxide gas and flue gases which can cause serious injury, property damage, or death. For indoor installations, it is strongly recommended that you install a reliable Carbon Monoxide detector in the vicinity of this appliance and in any adjacent spaces. I understand that you may be tempted to install this heater yourself but for your own safety, and also to protect your investment, please follow the manufacturers recommendations and have it installed by a professional. Improper installation and/or operation will void the warranty.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Carbon monoxide colorless and odorless.
- Carbon monoxide is produced by burning fuel, including natural gas and propane.
- Proper installation, operation and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances and power equipment is essential to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- All fuel burning appliances, such as pool heaters should be installed by professionals according to the manufacturers specifications. No exceptions! Your life is not worth the risk.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe operation. Read the Sta-Rite manual thoroughly.
- Have the heating system (including vents) inspected and serviced annually by a certified technician.
- Examine vents regularly for improper connections, visible cracks, rust or stains.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms.
- The alarms should be certified to the requirements of the most recent UL, IAS, CSA and IAPMO standard for carbon monoxide alarms. Test carbon monoxide alarms regularly and replace dead batteries.
- Spa or hot tub water temperatures should never exceed 104° F. A temperature of 100° F is considered safe for a
- healthy adult. Special caution is suggested for young children. Prolonged immersion in hot water can induce hyperthermia.